Friday, April 15, 2005

Katharina Grosse lecture Part 2

Continuing with the recent Katharina Grosse lecture - the previous post is

The projects in Marfa and Helsinki with their big windows helped to open up new relationships between the building and the painting. Another project, a little barn in Switzerland, was a challenge because she wasn't allowed to work directly on any of the old barn's surface. For this tiny low-ceilinged space she decided she would try to make the largest painting possible for that little structure. They built false walls and a lowered ceiling within the space to paint on - can't find a pic for it yet, sorry. Grosse says she is open to experimenting with building her own structures but only when she can't use the given space.

This Hammer Museum painting in a stairwell was created two weeks after 9/11 - she said it was a very tense situation in LA (I guess when she was doing this we all know exactly where we were too - I think almost every artist talk I've been to in the past couple years the speaker has mentioned 9/11, regardless of where they were when it happened). Grosse said she is fascinated by stairwell situations in which people move along her painting. Much different than something that people walk up to and stand in front of. They should move that Matisse in the MoMA and let Grosse do something there. She'd be a great candidate for the Philly ICA ramp as well.

One of the most interesting parts of the lecture was her description of her working conditions. The working conditions of these wall spray-pieces have nothing to do with how they are eventually viewed. We think of these paintings as being site-specific pieces but the idea of a site-specific work is really sort of a metaphor because she is so disconnected from the environment. To prevent spray dust from going all over it is necessary to completely seal off the area she works in with large sheets of plastic - sometimes it is dark plastic. Grosse wears a spraysuit, goggles, a mask, and even ear mufflers. The compressor creates a huge amount of noise. She's like an astronaut and can't even hear her own footsteps because of the ear mufflers.

Working in a big complicated space like this one it is impossible to see everything while you are working on it - she needs to memorize. She compared this piece to like taking a hike - with different views and vantage points. The ceiling here is ribbed or corrugated so what you see looking up from one side is different from what you see looking up from the other.

Part 3

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